Spotlight: Rosa Guerrero

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Written by Renee Malooly and originally published on Borderzine 

Link to article: http://borderzine.com/2014/11/at-80-el-paso-folklorico-pioneer-rosa-guerrero-still-lets-faith-guide-her-steps/

Dressed in a bright orange jacket adorned with a necklace and a crucifix pendant, Rosa Guerrero flashed a warm smile, projecting the trademark youthful spirit and upbeat stamina that belied her approaching 80th birthday.

“Age is just a matter of the mind,” Guerrero said as she sipped her cranberry and orange juice drink, a mix she concocted herself. “If you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter.”

Guerrero’s long resume in the professional dance world has not weighed her down. An avid dancer in all types of genres, a dance teacher of students that range in age from two-year-olds to 100-year-olds, and an ambassador for Mexican folkloric dance, her love for dance is evident in the rhythm of her hand gestures and expressive nature.

“I started dancing in my mother’s womb,” Guerrero exclaimed as she sculpted a simple dance move with her hands.

Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Guerrero has always been a dedicated individual who never settles for the bare minimum. Growing up without a car, Guerrero said she would walk to dance practice downtown from her central El Paso home.

“We did without a car,” Guerrero said. “It’s not a sin to be poor but it is a sin to be lazy,” she said, proud of her humble origins.

Frank Lopez, a friend of Guerrero for more than 10 years, first saw her in her dance element at a nonprofit performance. Lopez is an executive director of Ngage, a Las Cruces,New Mexico, nonprofit educational organization.

Lopez said Guerrero’s kind nature makes her unique. “She’s very down to earth,” Lopez said. “She gives as much of herself to her community.”

A Roman Catholic, Guerrero said her strong sense of faith has guided her. She describes herself as ecumenical — someone who has a love and respect for other religions, beliefs, and faiths.

“To me there is only one God and he is our father and our maker,” Guerrero said. “I believe that all religions are based on that creator.”

Lopez said that Guerrero takes deep subjects of culture and race that are usually difficult for others to be open about, and makes them poignant subjects.

“She’s very spiritual in a beautiful way.”

Guerrero became immersed in other religions and cultures through dance. She is responsible for spreading Folklorico dance style throughout the United States after becoming the founder and artistic director of the Rosa Guerrero International Folklorico Dance Group. Guerrero said all individuals are unique and together make one giant tapestry, the title of a documentary she made that stresses this concept.

Guerrero’s nonprofit was the first Mexican folkloric dance group in the nation to dance at the Kennedy Center in 1991. They were also the first to dance for the CIA in 1992. Former secretary of defense, Robert Gates, was the CIA director at the time.

“He gave us a tour and he was very friendly to me,” Guerrero said.

Describing the performance for the CIA, Guerrero said the environment was very professional. Never letting go of her cheerful personality, Guerrero presented a gift consisting of El Paso Saddleblanket and Chile Company souvenirs to Gates on stage in front of the large conservative crowd. Guerrero said she jokingly told Gates that she is president of the CIA in El Paso, which filled the auditorium with laughter.

“All I did was break the barrier,” Guerrero said.

Dennis Bixler-Márquez, director of the Chicano Studies Program at UT El Paso, has known Guerrero since 1971 when he was a member of Teacher Corps. He said that Guerrero captures and represents what El Paso is about in an artistic sense through music and dance.

“What makes her inspirational is that she is a cultural ambassador for the city on both sides of the border,” Bixler-Márquez said. ​

Exposure of culture is important to Guerrero. Receiving bachelor’s degree from Texas Western College, now the University of Texas at El Paso, in elementary and high school education in 1957, Guerrero has worked at numerous public schools throughout El Paso to spread that idea. She hopes to spend the rest of her life writing.

“One written word is worth one thousand spoken ones,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero’s husband of 60 years, Sergio, three children and five grandchildren are strong figures in her life. She said everything she has wanted is to make her family proud. She is grateful for her parents and said she is thankful for anyone who has been a part of her life.

“God put you here and your parents give you your life,” Guerrero said. “The rest is up to you.”

Multimedia Arts Camps

This Summer, girls in Austin & El Paso, TX have an opportunity to get a taste of what their life could be like as a movie star, a news anchor, a photographer, a fashion reporter, a radio DJ, a magazine writer, a poet, a graphic designer and more in Latinitas multimedia art camps. Through intense week-long day camp program, girls can find their creative expression outlet by producing original media arts projects.The Latinitas camp is led by a team of women educators, role models and mentors experienced in guiding girls in hands-on lessons, interactive presentations, team challenges, and fun games that address girl issues and encourage self-esteem, expression, confidence and empowerment. Girls will produce original multimedia arts projects and master techniques in photography, writing, design, radio production and filmmaking. Sign up for our program bulletin to learn more.

Fotos de Mi Alma – May 12

Fotos de Mi Alma is Latinitas’ primary annual fundraising event.   Celebrating it’s 9th year, the photography auction will feature pieces representative of the documentary work of Austin-based photographer Joel Salcido.  Salcido’s images comes from the agave fields of tequila manufacturing all the way to the bullfighting rings of Spain.

MAY 12, 2016  * 6 PM – 9PM * IBC BANK COMMUNITY SUITE
GET YOUR TICKETS

Photographs are a glimpse of what may lie deep in the soul of a landscape, a seemingly everyday situation or a person. Good ones grab us by the imagination, they make us question, dream, think. The featured works showcase, in literal and abstract fashion, facets of Latino culture ranging from religion, to architecture, to family life.

The evening will include music from Austin Music Award’s Best Female vocalist for two year’s in a row Patricia Vonne and a variety of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.   Try El Mayor’s rarest and most exclusive tequilas* and meet our special guest tequila senior ambassador,  Jorge Raptis. Become well versed in the art of tequila by learning from a true tequila connoisseur.

This year’s events features raffle packages divided by city region – and include dinner gift certificates, spa treatments and even a trapeze experience for winners!

Proceeds from the auction will benefit Latinitas’ outreach programs. Latinitas is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young Latina girls through media and technology education. BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

Go Mujeres – Latinitas Scholarship Campaign

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SUPPORT THE LATINITAS SCHOLARSHIP FUND
The Latinitas Scholarship Fund was started to help young Latina college students reach their college dreams. Latinitas is dedicated to empowering the next generation of young Latina leaders. As the nation’s largest minority and fastest growing youth population, it is vital for us to help these young women reach their full potential. Make an investment in our future and support Latinitas scholarship fund to assist Latina college students in reaching their higher education goals. 

GO MUJERES: MATCHING FUNDS DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT
In celebration of Women’s History Month in March, we will kick off our giving campaign to raise scholarship funds to support college scholarships for young Latinas. We are partnering with the Hispanics in Philanthropy Go Mujeres Campaign to raise funds to support causes supporting Latina women and girls during Women’s History Month throughout March.  Donations made on March 29 are eligible to be doubled and receive up to $5,000 in matching funds through the HIPGive Go Mujeres Campaign. The Go Mujeres Fundraising Online Campaign is a great opportunity to make a donation in honor or in memory of a woman you admire. DONATE TO INVEST IN FUTURE LATINA LEADERS.

ABOUT LATINITAS
Latinitas is a non-profit organization that enables young Latinas to achieve personal and academic success through media and technology outreach thereby addressing the critical state of Latina girls today. While Latina girls ages 12 to 17 are the largest group of minority girls in the country, they are more likely than their non-Hispanic peers to face the four most serious threats to achieving success: depression, pregnancy, substance abuse and becoming a high school drop out. The solution lies in empowering these young Latinas, strengthening their confidence and expanding their opportunities. With a variety of enriching experiences, Latinitas discover their voice and develop media skills while building a solid foundation for their future.

Volunteer Bulletin February 2016

DIY: The Flower Edition

The weather is warming up, which means spring is around the corner. Our club chicas are helping us redecorate the office with this cute, fun DIY projects — just in time for spring!

Bouquet Flower Card circleflowercard

Materials:

  • Colored construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Stapler

1)    The first step is to cut out nine circles in different colors. There should be three groups of circles: small, medium, and large.

2)    Next, glue them together. You should have three different circles that have four circles glued together.

3)    Next,  get another color paper of your choice, just a small piece, and roll it to make the stalk for the paper flowers.

4)   Then, use tape to attach each of the flowers to its stalk. Be sure to staple the flowers together so that there is one group of three flowers.

5)    Fold another colored paper entirely in half to make the card, and use another small different colored paper to make the pocket. Once the pocket is ready you will be able to insert the flower bouquet.

 

Tissue Flower tissue flower

Materials:

  • Kleenex tissue paper
  • Markers
  • Bobby Pins

1) The first step is to fold the Kleenex into an accordion fold.

2) Next, put a bobby pin in the center of the Kleenex tissue once it is folded already into an accordion.

3) Then, cut off the ends.

4)    Next, color the ends of the Kleenex with the color of your choice.

5) For the last step, start unfolding the Kleenex petal by petal and you will have your flower you can make several flowers if you like.

 

Rose bookmark

Materials:

  • Heart Template for flower
  • Colored construction paper or scrapbook paper
  • Ribbon

1)    The first step is to cut out the heart four times.

2)    The next step is for each rose to cut out four hearts from scrapbook paper.

3)    Then turn one of hearts upside down so that it looks like one of the center petals of a rose bud. Then, use glue to stick the top of a pipe cleaner stem in its place.

4)    Next, place a second heart on top of the first one with glue. With your fingertips, curl the tips of the hearts.

5)    Next, fold the remaining two hearts in half vertically, fold the rounded sides of the hearts backwards, and then fold down the tips.

6)    Finally, put the sides of the center between the folded hearts using glue so that they stay in place.

 

Have your own DIY projects to share? Send ideas to editor@latinitasmagazine.org. 

Latinitas Celebrates Women’s History Month with Blog-a-thon

Latinitas Announce Weeklong Blog-A-Thon

Calling all Latina bloggers to celebrate Women’s History Month! The nonprofit organization, Latinitas, is hosting a Blog-A-Thon March 1st-5th on www.MyLatinitas.com for the creative girls who want to #SpeakOut and share their creative voice during Women’s History Month. Each day will have a different blog topic.

Expressing themselves through writing is one of the best ways to incorporate their voice and show that Latina voices matter. Young Latinas are the largest group of minority girls and the fastest growing youth population in the United States, six times faster than their peers. Despite the power in numbers, the image and voice of Latinas is absent or often distorted in media. Women are often quieted from letting their true colors shine through their creativity.It’s time for Latinas to come together and share their creativity and show that Latinas will be a part of mainstream media.

To get involved, bloggers are invited to create an account at MyLatinitas.com or submit their work to editor@latinitasmagazine.org. Prizes (gift cards) will be awarded to the to first, second, and third place blogueras who contribute high quality content. Blogs from the blog-a-thon will be eligible for publication in LatinitasMagzine.com or in an anthology to be released in 2017.

Blog-a-thon Topics:
March 1: Tell us what you are doing to help future generations of Latinas succeed! Whether you’re a first generation college student setting a standard for siblings or volunteering in your community, show us what you contribute.
March 2: Who runs this? Girls! #WCW more like #WCE Spotlight a Latina woman who has changed your life and/or history.
March 3: The “F” Word: What does feminism and/or being a feminist mean to you?
March 4: I am a chica poderosa because _____________! Give advice on how to others can be chicas poderosas just like you.
March 5: As a future Latina hero, what would you like to be known for?

Providing forums and programs to capture this voice, Latinitas, (www.latinitasmagazine.org) empowers Latina girls and teens using media and technology. Latinitas is prompting girls nationwide with some “hot topic” blog ideas to get their feedback on the big issues they face today.

College Chica El Paso

COLLEGE CHICA PREPARES GIRLS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

 

WHAT:  College Chica is a full-day conference centered around college attainment. The event will feature college prep workshops, a college student panel and keynote speakers presenting on the value of academic pursuit.

WHO: Girls ages 10-18 are invited to attend Latinitas’ College Chica conference. The event is co-hosed by Latinitas, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering young Latinas, and the UTEP Center for Civic Engagement.

WHEN: February 13 from 10am-2pm

WHERE: UTEP Miner Village

WHY: Young Latinas are suffering the highest rates of school drop out of all their female peers and College Chica is a direct effort to curb those statistics by demystifying the college experience. Girls are invited to discover the importance of college and get an insider’s view of college life. Girls will have an opportunity to tour the UTEP campus, meet college student mentors, attend workshops on the importance of education and participate in activities to start preparing for college. Sessions on video production, photography and blogging will feature investigative activities on why college is important, what it is like and how to afford it.

CONTACT: For more information, contact Latinitas 915.219.8554, or latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com.

Spring Girl Empowerment Events

UPCOMING EVENTS: CHICA POWER FEST (4/16, EL PASO, TX) & CODE CHICA (4/16 AUSTIN, TX)

CHICA POWER FEST – (4/16, EL PASO, TX)
WHEN: April 16 from 9:30am-3:30pm
WHERE: UTEP Miner Village – Summit Hall (2401 N. Oregon) 
The Chica Power Fest encourages girls to build confidence, discover their voice, express themselves, promote healthy lifestyles and make wise decisions. Inspiring guest speakers will help girls learn about issues girls face and discover real solutions on how to overcome these challenges. This day of girl empowerment is aimed at local girls 10 to 18 years old and is hosted by the UTEP Center for Civic Engagement and the Women in Business Association. The event will feature informative and inspirational workshops, guest speakers, panelists, and multimedia presentations led by local female leaders on topics such as body image, confidence, peer pressure, media literacy, leadership, healthy relationships, cultural identity and bullying. For more information, call 219.8554, email latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com or visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chica-power-fest-tickets-24303532520

CODE CHICA CONFERENCE – APP DESIGN (4/16 – AUSTIN, TX)
WHEN: April 16 from 9am-4pm
WHERE: Austin Community College – Eastview Campus
3401 Webberville Rd, Austin, TX 78702
Using artistic talent, graphic design skills and some coding – girls will design their own app and will put together a business and marketing plan including its own TV and radio commercial. The day also includes lunchtime career presenters from art, branding, marketing, design, app development and entrepreneurial jobs and a keynote address. Register online: https://latinitas.ticketbud.com/codechica2016

 

Intern Spotlight: Claudia Reyes

INTERN SPOTLIGHT: Claudia Reyes
Role: Editorial Intern
College: Williams College, Sophomore
Why did you join Latinitas? I used to participate with Latinitas when I was younger. As a first generation Latina myself, I have found my experience as a Latina youth to be vastly different than others. I hope that through my internship with Latinitas I can better understand not only how other Latina youth identities are formed but also my own. I would like to spend my Winter Study interning with Latinitas because I believe it is an opportunity for active intellectual exploration on Latina/o identities and community. I also have a growing interest in working with youth and remember how much I valued having an older Latina to look up to when I was younger.